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It Was Jesus Who Came and Got Me

In many faith stories, there is often a “come to Jesus” moment, when the person realizes that they need Christ in a way they never appreciated before. My story isn’t like that. In my case, it was Jesus who came and got me.
July 31, 2023

Nourishing Narratives: The Power of Story to Shape our Faith

Thinking through narrative is Jesus’ primary pedagogical mode: a man goes on a journey, a woman searches for a coin, a son goes astray, a servant makes a bad investment. Whatever the perspective, there is ample evidence that societal attitudes—on whatever issue, whether toward smoking or politics, war or sexuality—are affected more by story than by law. Thus, stories both encourage and constrain us, depending on our ability to critically interpret and respond to these narratives.
July 10, 2023
American HistoryChurch HistoryFeatured

Slavery and the Difficulty of Interpreting the Bible

When I listen to fellow pastors and church members say to me, “The Apostle Paul in Romans 1 is very clear about same-sex relationships,” I hear echoes of the way many cited scripture to justify slavery. This has caused me to revisit my own plain and literal reading of the Bible. To do so is not to be lost in the sea of relativism, nor a failure of moral formation, nor a failure to take the Bible seriously, nor a…
July 3, 2023

The Year I Was a Christian

Hearing the plea of the Syrian Orthodox, I realized that no one had ever laid a claim on me because I bore the name of Christ. “Christian” was the box that I checked in surveys and governmental forms to distinguish myself from Muslims or Hindus.
June 26, 2023

Ministry in an Age of Anxiety

Can we shield ourselves from these anxieties altogether – I think not: Paul most certainly does not promise us a quiet life, any more than our beloved Lord Jesus does. But the transformation of anxiety through prayer, and its mysterious enfolding in the joy and peace of the Trinitarian life, though the Spirit and in Christ: this is indeed our Pauline heritage and we must urgently reclaim it to be effective ambassadors of the gospel at all.
June 19, 2023
Church HistoryFeatured

Fighting Over Grace

Americanization, acculturation, inevitably envelops us all. The broader question at hand in 1924 was, which America were the immigrants joining? That translates exactly into our own era: which part of “the world” are we comfortable with? Which part do we do we foreswear? And what sort of “world” do the issues at hand at Synod 2023 represent, for both parties?
June 12, 2023

Hermit Crabs, Caligula’s Horse, and Six Other Images of Religious Power

All of earth’s empires crumble. Caligula’s did. I pray not, but possibly, someday, even the United States will crumble. The Apostle Paul taught that any religious system which humans have constructed with merely physical elements will disintegrate. Jesus told us that any religious power which has attached itself to the building blocks of an earthly nation will be left with not one stone standing an another.
June 5, 2023

F*ck Cancer

If Starbuck is right in his argument that a.) any unwilled natural violence is simply a part of God’s beautiful and violent creation and b.) the malicious destruction of God’s creation affronts not only the creation but also God himself, then when my mom says “f*ck cancer,” Starbuck would conclude that at least part of her hostility is directed at the God that both of us revere.